PERILS raises industry loss estimate for SE Australia flooding to $840m

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Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS has disclosed its second industry loss estimate for the Southeast Australia floods in October 2022, amounting to AUD 840m ($600m).

australia-mapThis second estimate follows an initial loss estimate of AUD 791m, which was issued by PERILS on 8 December 2022, marking an AUD 49m increase since then.

The estimate includes losses from the property and motor hull lines of business and is based on loss data collected from the majority of the Australian insurance market, says PERILS.

The data provider explains that meteorological lows alongside moist tropical air from warm surface water in the Pacific Ocean led to storms and extensive rainfall in much of Southeast Australia.

According to PERILS, this triggered widespread riverine and pluvial flooding in the Murray-Darling basin of New South Wales and Victoria, and later in Tasmania.

The floodwaters mainly affected rural areas and caused considerable damage to homes, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture.

Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, commented, “The weather in Australia in 2022 was dominated by La Niña conditions which resulted in above-average rainfall in many regions of northern and eastern Australia.

“Both the record floods of late February/early March and the floods of October 2022 are linked to this large-scale weather pattern, which is now in its third consecutive summer but anticipated to weaken in the coming months.”

Pidcock continued, “While the February-March floods impacted densely populated coastal regions, the October floods mostly affected inland rural areas and losses to the insurance industry were therefore significantly lower.

“For the affected communities they were still a heavy blow. We, therefore, hope that our work of systematic exposure and loss data collection can contribute to a better understanding of flood vulnerabilities also in such rural communities, and over time help to mitigate the impact of future events.”

PERILS notes that it will release an updated estimate of the property and motor hull market loss from the floods, including a detailed footprint breaking down the industry loss into postcode areas and lines of business, on 27 April 2023, six months after the event end date.

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